An open letter to HR by Gen-Z Candidate

When you play the Game of Talent, you either win or you die !

Does that sound familiar?

How can it not?

We, the Millennials, are proud fans of Game of Thrones and we believe as we say,

“Turn us away, and we will burn you first!”

We are young, dynamic, charming and the talk of the town (and the industry). Enough has been written and speculated about us and the world doesn’t seem to get enough of us. What we do, what we eat, how we shop, how we learn, everything is a data point for the industry. We have been credited with establishing ground-breaking business models and, at the same time, we are accused of being fickle-minded.

The Baby Boomers and GenX think we are the most difficult bunch of people to keep engaged but as we grow older, there’s an entirely new and younger generation that is ready to take on the industry and that’s Generation-Z or Gen-Z. Born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, Gen-Z is a league that has grown with technologies like the internet and social media.

According to a report in Forbes, Generation-Z has “easier access to more information, people, and resources than any prior generation.”

This impacts their behavior to a great extent. They have been exposed to mobile technology in their growing up years. They have grown to communicate through digital tools and have lived all their lives being connected "globally." The most iconic part of Generation-Z is that they only know what the Baby Boomers and Gen X calls "digital forms of communication" as the mode of communication. An easy access to technology at the young age has made the generation more independent and resourceful than any previous generation.

What is a challenge for the HR managers is that Gen-Z has had very little or practically no experience of older communication styles. They are the digital natives who haven’t known a world without social media and the internet. They are more comfortable finding a job listing on a Snapchat or Instagram than in newspapers or recruitment portals. They want to be approached by the employers. This is the generation who finds desktops old school as they have grown up with smartphones. Their DNA has mobile experience woven into it.

So, while the Millennials make a mark in your organization, here’s what you need to understand about recruiting Generation Z.

Money isn’t the only way to woo them.

Even though a fat pay cheque doesn’t hurt anybody, it isn’t enough to woo GenZ. According to a study by Millennial Branding and Randstad, “Only 28% of Gen-Z said the money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer longer, as opposed to 42% of Gen Y.”

So, if you are looking at recruiting this young and dynamic generation, then don’t just offer money but also throw in career growth prospects, organizational culture, work flexibility, etc.

They want security and stability.

Even though money is not the prime source of motivation for Gen-Z, it plays a significant part in their lives. According to LinkedIn, Gen-Z grew up in one of the worst global economic recessions, they have seen their parents and others getting laid off or struggling with finances. This has left a deep mark on the entire generation.

So, while you go out to hire them, show them a long-term career path and defined goals.

They start young. Woo them before they grow "old."

If you are waiting for Gen-Z to hit the age of 21-23 or the "hirable" age, then you are missing out on a massive opportunity. This new generation is ready to talk careers even in high school! They are looking to gain professional experience by internships and a lot more to build their future resume.

A study by Millennial Branding and Internships.com revealed that "77% of high school students are either 'extremely interested' or 'very interested' in interning." Organizations reaching out to schools and colleges through their academic programs or activities have a higher chance of catching this young force. Organizations such as Google, Amazon, Bosch, and others are now focusing on organizing hackathons and other campus events to stay relevant to the upcoming generation. Events like these not just help industry leaders to stay in touch with youngsters but they also open up a two-way learning channel for reverse mentoring and a lot more.

They aren’t really as carefree about their future as you think.

This is the generation that grew up during the worst global recession; they are very concerned about their future and take planning for it seriously. According to a research by PwC, 71% of Millennials feel that they are maintaining a higher standard of living than their parents’ generation, whereas only 56% of Gen-Z take it that way.

Hence, when you as a talent head talk to them, don’t just talk about the perks for today but show them how secure their future can be with you.

They are entrepreneurial. Deal with it.

Millennials are still much easier to retain as they focus and value the idea of teamwork and collaboration, but Gen-Z wants autonomy. They look for stability and independence, so they prefer the road of entrepreneurship.

They prefer being innovative and believe in out-of-the-box thinking. Organizations looking to hire them need to showcase the spirit that drives them culturally. Firms offering a friendly yet competitive environment to employees are more likely to attract talent.   

They aren’t your “management” types.

According to a report in Forbes, unlike Millennials, Gen Z isn’t really keen to enjoy the financial bonus and status of being in a managerial position. British author Chloe Combi says that Gen-Z prefers emotional stability over economic achievement. Gen Z wants a significant role where they can pursue their interests and make a difference much more.

According to business guru Don Tapscott, Gen Z has“adaptive reflexes - faster switching and more active working memories.”

They are multi-taskers.

If you thought that Millennials have enough multi-tasking skills to balance out their continuous social media updates and work, then you need to meet the Gen-Z. According to a report, Gen-Z has grown up in a world dominated by digital communication. Staying connected is a priority for them, and they don’t mind attending to multiple updates from dozens of apps even at work. Switching quickly from one task to another is a part of their natural makeup.

The bigger picture is that if your organization needs people to focus on a task for too long, you need to make it clear to the Gen-Z candidates accordingly and train them if needed. This generation is fundamentally changing the way organizations define working hours. They access emails and work documents while taking a cab ride back home or while watching TV. They are highly mobile and can switch between work and leisure in no time.

They value real-time interaction.

The older generations believe that much like Millennials the tech-savvy Gen-Z doesn’t really value face-to-face interaction much, however, new research reveals that 53% of Gen-Z youngsters would prefer an in-person conversation over virtual conversations. Some even believe that Gen-Z will have better interpersonal skills in comparison with the previous generation.

Make your workplace diverse.

Gen-Z often shares more traits in common with their global peers than they do with adults of their own country. They have interacted with many youngsters of their age virtually and this has reduced the unconscious bias in them. For them diversity is natural, and they don’t need to make an extra effort like older generations did to accept it. So, they will expect diversity at their workplace. Organizations need to take their diversity and inclusion initiatives more seriously than ever and deploy technology for it if needed.

It’s important for organizations to cater to their needs. Be it in hiring or onboarding, or even talent assessment, the industry needs to get ready for this new generation of disruptors. It’s time you embrace technology for good and make changes to your organizational culture.

And remember when it comes to talent leadership, “what we don’t know is what usually gets us killed.”

Learn 9 amazing ways (unconventional!) to hire a Gen-Z candidate with our e-Book .


PS: For more such insights on tech recruitment, we invite you to join our LinkedIn group - "Yours Truly HR" 

About the Author

Arpit Mishra
Avid book reading advocate. Hardcore travel nerd. Technology freak. Follow me on LinkedIn to get more Insights on Tech Recruitment.
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